Ask an Expert | Anthony Saraceno
COVID-19 Updates from Real Antique Wood
We checked in with Anthony Saraceno of Real Antique Wood, a New Jersey based reclaimed wood supplier, to see how the Coronavirus is impacting their business and get some insight into how they’re handling the current situation. Real Antique Wood is a family owned mill that turns old barns into sustainable reclaimed hardwood flooring and custom furniture. We discuss changes they’ve had to make in their day-to-day operations, the climate in the industry as a whole and what he predicts for the use of reclaimed materials in design and construction post-COVID 19.
Doug Mockett: How has the current pandemic affected you and your business? What changes have you had to make to your work routine?
Anthony Saraceno: At the start of this pandemic, as expected, things were slow for us, as they were for everyone. Luckily, over the past few weeks, things have picked back up and we are just as busy as we normally would be. We have had to tailor our customer service availability from our showroom being open to the public to now being open by appointment only so we can provide everyone with an individual and safe experience that allows for us to participate in flattening the curve. Moreover, we have had to adjust our sales tactics to be more phone and internet friendly.
DM: You deal with reclaimed and antique wood for many types of applications ranging from commercial to residential and likely many other sectors. Are you focusing on one particular market at the moment? Has business slowed in certain areas, or picked up in other areas?
AS: We have seen the biggest change in our order base as we usually have an even combination of residential and commercial, whereas now our current orders are primarily commercial – a lot of which are restaurant spaces. The residential orders, though few, that we have received are for large projects like large scale renovations and new construction.
DM: What is the climate like in the industry as a whole? Do you feel any jobs that may have been delayed or canceled will pick back up when the economy is reopened?
AS: The reclaimed wood industry as a whole is slower, however, it seems to be holding steady. It is my prediction that orders and jobs will increase once the economy is reopened, especially for residential projects. I say this, because now more than ever people are spending time within their homes and are able to plan what they want to change. For example, maybe one homeowner will want all new floors, or another may want to finally replace their fireplace mantle. When that time comes, we will be here to help them with their projects and give their homes a new look!
DM: Since you deal with a very specific type of custom antique wood, have you experienced any material shortages in the process due to recent circumstances of COVID-19 closures or other provisions?
AS: Luckily, we have not had any shortages or issues with being out of stock with any materials as we try to keep a large inventory.
DM: Do you expect that there may be a new appreciation for sustainable and recycled materials going forward in design and construction? Have you had an opportunity to use this experience to consider any new ways to approach design going forward?
AS: Yes, absolutely! Now more than ever, we need to focus on what we have available and what we are able to do with it. It is my hope that people will see the importance for sustainable and recycled materials now that we see evidence of how the world, particularly Mother Nature, can heal itself now that humanity has slowed its draw of natural resources during this pandemic. Why go and cut down trees and source new wood when you have materials available that can be reused and do not cause additional impact to the environment?!
Established in 2011, owners Gary and Lisa Horvath started Real Antique Wood with the hopes of giving people more of an appreciation for using re-claimed, re-purposed and re-loved materials in their projects. As manager of RAW, Anthony covers all aspects of the business from customer service, to operations, to sole fabricator and has helped Gary and Lisa to grow their business into the premier source of reclaimed wood within the tri-state area.
For more information on Real Antique Wood’s services and to view some of their beautiful projects check out their website: RealAntiqueWood.com
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